Message from Montie

Education Archives

L'Union Fait La Force benefit concert at The Shrine, Chicago vegan cookout for Feeding Haiti on Jan. 25

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

 
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Permission to use from The RBG Environmental Restoration Agency

If you're living or visiting the Chicago area and want to donate funds to victims from Haiti's earthquake, the Chicago Haitian Initiative (C.H.I.) will be having a fundraiser at The Shrine nightclub this coming Monday. Performers in attendance will include J. Ivy, GLC, Phenom, Yaw, Khari Lemuel, Mikkey Halsted and DJ Lee Farmer. Frontline Magazine editor Marcus Kline and Zarakyah Ben Ahmadiel of The RBG Environmental Restoration Agency will also be there to speak and educate about the current state of Haiti. The event will be from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., on Jan. 25, at 2109 S. Wabash Avenue. Click here for details.

 

If you're not really the nightclub person but still want to help out, there will be a second event earlier Monday with The RBG Environmental Restoration Agency in Winnie Mandela Intergenerational Alternative School at 2:30 p.m., called Feeding Haiti.

 

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Chicago Public Library offers computer courses, improve unemployment and computer illiteracy

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Message from Montie's home office

I'm starting to see the differences in the way Chicago Public Libraries are going to operate in 2010. By now you probably know the library hours will be cut short in January 2010. Within the past couple months, Rogers Park library now puts books on shelves that are being held for library patrons instead of waiting in lines to decrease checkout times.

 

We already have the perks of reserving our own library books online instead of being on hold for a ridiculously long time. For those who want to reserve Internet computers, you can put in your own library card, check for availability and disappear until your reservation time. But oftentimes, while picking up books, I see those who are not computer savvy struggling to use computers and overworked librarians who don't have time to walk each person through the steps of reserving books and Internet time.

 

This is yet another advantage of the library--computer courses. The unemployment rate in November 2009 was down 10 percent with 15.4 million unemployed people in the U.S. And while manufacturing employment is down by 41,000 and construction by 27,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in professional and business services through temporary help agencies has increased by 86,000.

 

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Seven-year-old Lamya Cammon gets hair cut off by Milwaukee teacher

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.



My older brother warned me about Ms. Ricks, my new third grade teacher, who loved to cuff people behind the ear when she was upset with them. But I was a studious kid and didn't look for trouble, so imagine my embarrassment when Ms. Ricks slapped me upside the head for not knowing the answer to a math problem. The class erupted in laughter, and I cried for the rest of class. Twenty-one years later, I still remember that. But when I read WISN's report about what happened to Lamya Cammon by her first grade teacher at Congress Elementary School, my incident seemed lightweight.

 

A Milwaukee teacher was charged with disorderly conduct and a $175 fine for cutting off one of the braids of Lamya Cammon. Why? Because the teacher got tired of her playing with her hair. I guess Chris Rock's "Good Hair" movie wasn't enough proof of how black women and girls regard their hair. You do not cut anybody's hair because you're tired of them playing with it. I don't care who you are. I've never even heard of a black mother cutting her daughter's hair off. Do you know how long it takes for black females' hair to grow back? We don't wake up a month later and the hair is just back to its previous length.

 

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Assist Her, Daughters of Donia and Lupe Fiasco Foundation create empowerment conference for teenage girls at Paul Robeson High School

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

 

 

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Photo courtesy of Ayesha Jaco

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Photo courtesy of Samantha Coleman

 

 

 

 

Chicago's south side Paul Robeson High School has developed quite the reputation lately for being labeled the school with one out of seven girls who are pregnant. But it turns out that the 115 Paul Robeson High School students reported as moms or moms-to-be aren't all moms, some are teenage fathers.

 

"Out of the 800 girls, 10 percent of those girls are in our program," Ms. Phillips, Parent Educator at Paul Robeson High School, said. "Eighty girls and we have about twenty-five guys that are in the program so that would bring our number to 115. That is [also] a combination of students that have given birth to their children already and students that are currently pregnant."

 

But the fact remains that there are still 115 teenage parents at the school and mentoring programs like the Lupe Fiasco Foundation, Daughters of Donia and Assist Her, Inc. have planned an event on Saturday, Dec. 5, to help change those statistics. The After I Met a Boy event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., on Sat., Dec. 5, at Paul Robeson High School on 6835 S. Normal Blvd.

 

Mentor group representatives Samantha Coleman, MA, LPC (the Executive Director of Assist Her, Inc.) and Ayesha Jaco (the co-founder of the Lupe Fiasco Foundation and the founder of Daughters of Donia) have created the After I Met a Boy empowerment conference focused on sexual education, prevention and mentoring for the ladies of Paul Robeson High School.

 

"I had heard about the high pregnancy rate at the school and a light bulb went off," said Jaco. "In lieu of the killings that have been going on and stats that came out last year--one in four girls between the ages of 14 and 21 have an STD--I was wondering what I could do to help."

 

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Pyramid Productions presents 'Crossed,' a play about Greek life effects (photo gallery and video incl.)

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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A A-likes reveal themselves to college crowd.

 

 

 

Pyramid Productions playwright Calvin Leroy King III presents "Crossed," a play about Black Greek life and the effects it has on a Greek pledge and his non-Greek friends and family. This play is being shown at the DuSable Museum of African-American History, 740 E. 56th Place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 27 and Nov. 28.

 

Special thank you to Sheila Black (Production Specialist of "Crossed" and a superb intern I met while working at the Chicago Defender) for sharing some of her photos. 

 

Click here to read my review of this play.

Check out photos and video footage from the event below.

Gallery sneak peek (10 images):

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African-American visibility in advertising, Chicago's Commonground businessowners discuss marketing

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Ahmad Islam (left) and Sherman Wright (right) at the 40 Under 40 Honoree Reception

A commercial is a food or bathroom break for me. I usually don't pay attention to advertisements, but in the past few months I've noticed a pattern in marketing. It's not just the Walmart or McDonald's commercials. I'm seeing it in Tide, Pine Sol, Sprite, Lever 2000, Crest and the Roomplace commercials too. I'm seeing a boost in advertising visibility with African-American families, especially African-American fathers. Recently I saw an entertaining ad about relationships on the #65 bus after I left an appointment in the Chicago loop. I thought the ad was amusing and refreshing to see such a common moment in a relationship.

 

 

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Photo by Shamontiel

 

I wonder if advertising agencies are starting to get the hint about diversity in marketing or did President Barack Obama's family have something to do with the diversity, but either way I love it. It's nice to see multiculturalism on camera. And this year is also an important year for African-Americans in the marketing industry, including Chicago's own Commonground, owned by Sherman Wright and Ahmad Islam.

 

This two-team, African-American owned marketing company had their success honored this year on Crain's Chicago 2009 40 Under 40 list. I knew about their products and I saw some of their work, like the Sprite Step Off commercial, but I didn't know who the brains were behind these operations. I was delighted to be introduced to the owners of Commonground this week and talk to Wright and Islam about the change in faces, the increase in diversity in the marketing industry, and how Chicago influences the advertising and marketing industry.

 

Neither owner is from Chicago. Sherman Wright, a Texan who has a bachelor's degree in journalism, came to Chicago from Texas A&M for a diversity program when he was 22 years old. Ahmad Islam, who holds a master's degree in sports marketing and a bachelor's degree in business psychology, came to Chicago after traveling to various cities from his home state of Ohio.

 

"My family is still from the Midwest," Islam said. "Chicago is probably the only city in the Midwest that I really wanted to live in. It gave me the benefits of being close to my family, being in a city that was great from a marketing and advertising standpoint, and also being able to live the city life."

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My counterargument: Principal Steve Perry wants Obama kids to go to public school

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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CNN featured Principal Steve Perry on "Black in America" Part 2

President Barack H. Obama voluntarily ran for the President of the United States of America, but I don't see one piece of documentation stating that Sasha and Malia Obama had to be the guinea pigs for public school education. However, tonight on CNN's "Black Men in the Age of President Obama," Dr. Steve Perry discussed Obama's decision to not send his daughters to a public school with CNN news anchor Don Lemon.

 

And while I respect Principal Steve Perry, of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut, for what he's done for his students, I disagree. Principal Perry was featured on CNN's "Black in America" Part 2, and his school boasts a nearly zero percent dropout rate. Principal Perry himself gets up at four something in the morning to take students to school who do not have the necessary transportation. Shirts must be buttoned and ties must be worn on male students, and suit coats are also worn. Capital Preparatory Magnet School is nearly 80 percent Latino and African-American, and every graduating member of Perry's school has gone on to a four-year university.

 

However, that's not the norm in most public schools. So while he wants President Obama to set the example by sending his daughters to a public school, the teachers worldwide should also have the same professionalism and drive that Principal Steve Perry has. In 12 years of being in public school, I don't recall one of my teachers being so in love with their jobs that they got up and took students to school. Perry is jumping the gun by thinking every teacher is going to be like him.

 

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CNN's 'Latino in America' and Holy Trinity Catholic Church bring back memories of bilingual goals

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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I have been looking forward to CNN's "Latino in America" for months, but while watching tonight's episode and hearing both sides of the divide in St. Ann, Missouri's Holy Trinity Catholic Church (nicknamed Holy Trinity Hispanic Church), all I could do was shake my head. Neither group seems to be making a great effort to know the other--the Latino side because some are uncomfortable that they aren't fluent in English and the English side because they feel like Latinos should learn English. I disagree with both. They both need to meet in the middle. English is not the official language in the United States, and we're constantly bragging about being a big melting pot but then contradicting ourselves by trying to force others to learn what's popular.

 

When I was in high school, I loved chatting with a gorgeous gray-eyed young man in my homeroom named Jose. We met the first day of high school and stayed cool throughout the years until he was killed in an auto accident my junior year. I'd always ask him to say something in Spanish to me so I could translate it. I took Spanish classes throughout high school, and a good associate of mine named Angie (who also went to my alma mater Morgan Park) would hang out with me at the bus stop and I'd ask her to speak in Spanish too because I was trying to get better. I wanted to be bilingual, not just to talk to both of them because they were bilingual but just to learn something new.

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Chicago Public Libraries decrease hours in 2010

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Harold Washington Library

 My parents had a fairly reasonable library at home, but I recall many nights of sitting in my local library to study for high school projects. Sometimes I'd be with a study group, but most of the time I was alone and my father would usually pick me up later if I didn't want to walk home. On the ride home from the library with my father, I remembered how many countless library walks we'd take just to go read for fun. And then I found out tonight that Chicago public libraries are cutting their hours.

 

According to the Chicago Tribune, 76 branches of the Chicago Public Library system will have reduced hours from Monday through Thursday, opening an hour later (10 a.m.) and closing an hour earlier (8 p.m.). There will be no hour changes to the Harold Washington Library located in downtown Chicago, the Sulzer library on the north side of Chicago or the Carter G. Woodson library on the south side of Chicago. The new hours won't take effect until January 2, 2010.

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